On May 2, 2017, Johns Hopkins International Injury Research (JH-IIRU) faculty, including Drs. Adnan Hyder, Qingfeng Li, and Kunle Alonge, attended a Bloomberg Philanthropies meeting on drowning prevention in New York City. The objectives of the meeting were to: highlight the global burden of drowning; review current evidence on drowning prevention interventions; identify priority drowning prevention gaps that need increased attention and discuss communications strategies to raise global awareness of drowning prevention.

At the meeting, Michael Bloomberg, World Health Organization (WHO) Global Ambassador for Noncommunicable Diseases and founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies, announced a $25 million expansion of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ global drowning prevention program.

The first phase of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ drowning program was launched in 2012 and focused on two countries – Bangladesh and the Philippines. The Saving of Lives from Drowning (SoLiD) in Bangladesh project aimed to reduce the shocking number of childhood deaths due to drowning in the South Asian country. This study allowed researchers from JH-IIRU to examine how lives could be saved using a package of interventions, including playpens and community daycares, for children under five years of age. The program found that community-based daycares are very effective in preventing drowning in children under five. On May 2, Bloomberg Philanthropies released a video that documents the work conducted by Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit and local organizations to reduce drowning deaths in Bangladesh. JH-IIRU director, Dr. Adnan Hyder, is featured in the powerful video.

The second phase of the program will expand the use of daycares and support survival swimming in Vietnam. In addition, the program will continue to support community-based daycares in Bangladesh, and will pursue funding to incorporate daycare into national government programs. The program will also implement national drowning surveys in two countries in Sub Saharan Africa. Bloomberg Philanthropies will be working with several partners in this effort, including Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, for implementation and monitoring through 2022.

During the meeting, Drs. Adnan Hyder and Kunle Alonge presented current and new evidence on primary drowning prevention strategies, including daycares and barriers. In addition, with support from Bloomberg Philanthropies, the World Health Organization released Preventing drowning: an implementation guide. The report provides a range of effective drowning prevention strategies and highlights ways to harness public awareness and engagement to strengthen drowning prevention interventions.

Read more about Bloomberg Philanthropies’ drowning prevention program here.

A community-based daycare in Bangladesh

Dr. Adnan Hyder, Dr. Kelly Henning and local collaborators visit a community-based daycare